January 31 - February 6
James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902),
The Animals Enter the Ark, c. 1896-1902, gouache on board, 9 x 6 13/16 in, The Jewish Museum, New York. Image provided by the Jewish Museum, New York. Gift of the heirs of Jacob Schiff. Because Noah turned away from the wickedness surrounding him, he “found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” and was called to prepare the people for a great flood (Genesis 6:8, Moses 8:27). James Tissot sheds some light on how great a feat that must have been: not only was building the ark a colossal architectural undertaking, filling the ark with animals required organization and coordination, as well as a reciprocal endowment of divine grace. Tissot’s scene is filled with a diverse collection of animals, suggesting just a sampling of Noah’s dedicated efforts. Noah lived in a world of self-indulgence and widespread apathy towards God, but his devoted example reminds us that we can each turn away from the negative influences of the world. How has your life been blessed by eliminating such influences?
February 7 - 13
Ron Richmond (b. 1963),
Triplus, Number 3, 2005, oil on canvas, 51 x 75 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Lewis and Gail Burnham, 2007. Abraham desired “to be a greater follower of righteousness” (Abraham 1:2), but the Lord asked even more of him, saying, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1). Ron Richmond’s Triplus Number 3 reminds us that this perfection is a process that requires being spiritually born of water, blood, and the spirit, as indicated by the three bowls. The altar-like composition suggests that this expectation can only be achieved through the Savior’s atoning sacrifice. What do you learn from the symbols in this painting?
February 14 - 20
Randolph Rogers (1825-1892),
Isaac on the Altar, 1863-1864, marble, 41 1/2 x 22 1/2 x 18 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Stanford C. Stoddard, 2012. When Abraham and Sarah learned that she would have a son, they both laughed. The Lord firmly responded, “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Years later, when commanded to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham must have remembered this piercing question. Indeed, it was through Isaac that Abrahams’ posterity was to be numbered as the sands of the seashore and the stars in the heavens. Randolph Roger’s sculpture signifies that not only did Abraham have the faith required to act on such a difficult commandment, but Isaac, too, exhibited great trust in the Lord. Here, kneeling atop the altar of sacrifice, Isaac looks upward, in submission to the Lord’s will. The artist’s use of white marble seems to underscore Isaac’s innocence and purity of heart, reminding us of the nature of a consecrated sacrifice. How can you turn your will over to the Lord?
February 21 - 27
Emile Coriolan Hippolyte Guillemin (1841 - 1907),
Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well, no date, bronze, 31 x 23 3/4 x 12 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Standford C. Stoddard, 2012. The story of Rebekah and Eliezer at the well is a reminder that, as President Kimball said, “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs” (Ensign, December 1974). In order for the Abrahamic Covenant to be renewed through generations, Isaac needed to marry and have children. Abraham’s servant Eliezer, under instruction from Abraham, found and introduced Isaac to his future wife, Rebekah. Guillemin immortalized the meeting of Eliezer and Rebekah when she selflessly agreed to draw water not only for this stranger, but offered to give his ten camels water as well. Eliezer leans down, likely weary from his journey, and relieved the Lord answered his prayer. What can you do to be the answer to another's prayer?